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Which love language does your child speak?

| Admin

Did you know that there are five basic “love languages”?

Dr. Gary Chapman has written extensively on the five basic love languages of adults, teens and children.  Years ago I researched the basic love languages of adults and I was able to identify myself (Gifts and Quality Time) and my husband (a sub-category of Gifts and Acts of Service).  It was not until later that I realized I might be able to identify my children’s love languages and improve my relationship with them.

Do you have a child who is grabby, hugs too hard, kisses or blows too vigorously with “raspberries” or delights in slurpy wet “funny” kisses? Does your child love to play rough and wrestle more than other children?   Is this child snuggly when tired and fond of back scratches or massages?  Your child might speak the love language of TOUCH.  People who speak TOUCH often grow up to be hand holders, huggers, and are generally affectionate even in public.  If your child speaks the language of PHYSICAL TOUCH and you don’t, it can be difficult as you will find yourself admonishing your child to behave or keep her hands to herself.

Does your child spend a lot of time making things for others or talking about what he/she could buy or make for others?  When you take a trip does your child expect a gift?  When you return from a trip does he/she ask “what did you bring me?” as soon as you get back?  Does your child want something from each and every store you enter?  If your child is focused on buying things for him/herself and also on giving to others, your child might speak the language of GIFTS.   Warning: there is an interesting little sub category of GIFTS—which only a few children fall into—they are savers.  They prefer to save things—especially money–as they get older.  These kids grow into very budget-aware adults who are cautious about spending money but LOVE to get money as gifts.  They put cash gifts into the bank and rarely spend them.

Some children ask you to do things for them.  These children really appreciate the fort you built or the cookies you made them.  They appreciate the fact that you took time and energy to create something for them.  They do not necessarily have an interest in doing the task with you but appreciate the end result and brag about the thing Mommy or Daddy made them.  They might want a picture of it to share with others or they might take the item you made and show it to others.  These kids are speaking the love language called, ACTS OF SERVICE.  These kids grow into adults who value people doing things for them and express love by doing things for their spouse.  These children might try to show you love by unloading or loading the dishwasher without being asked.  They might “clean” your room or redecorate the living room while you are elsewhere.  If you don’t notice they have done something for you they will usually tell you in order to gain praise.

A child who values QUALITY TIME likes to spend time with you doing just about anything.  These kids often prefer to be with others rather than play alone.  They might wander around after you and try to “help” a little too much or they might chat constantly while you do something.  While they love to be taken to movies and on ski trips, they also like to make cookies with you or go hiking with you.  They have activities they like more than others but they will often do a non-favorite activity just to have one-on-one time with you.  This is a child who will grow into an adult who typically tries activities that his/her friends like and spends a lot of time with others.   Some of these children are shy and prefer quality time to be with a small circle of friends or family and others are outgoing and spend time engaging in activities with many others.

Finally, some children will seek WORDS OF AFFIRMATION from you.  She wants to know if you saw her spelling test score, her goal at the soccer game, or her wave from a distance.  He might ask if you thought his sports practice was good that day or if his new shirt looks good.  She might ask what you think of her artwork or her cooking.   These kids frequently seek advice, feedback and praise through verbal interactions.  They might treasure thank you notes and birthday cards more than your other children.  As adults, these people often write nice notes to friends or make positive comments or phone calls.

While most children (and adults) are predominately one style, many have a strong secondary love language.  Hopefully your love languages match those of your child so your child will feel understood and loved naturally.   A child who is loved in the way he or she can understand is a child who feels loved and has a deep sense of security.  One of my children is a GIFTS and WORDS OF AFFIRMATION and it is so easy for me to connect with her.  As a teacher these styles come naturally to me.

Sometimes though, we do not speak the same language as our children.  At our house, we have to be very mindful of our younger daughter’s primary love language of PHYSICAL TOUCH.  Since my husband and I are not huggy, touchy-feely people, we have to make ourselves recognize her need for rough housing and extra hugs.   She needs more wrestling and “raspberry” kisses than I would like, but I make myself do it anyway as it tells her I love her.   I have managed to steer her toward back scratches, hand and foot massages and “high fives” as she has matured and I know that with time, the “butterfly” kisses will end and I will miss them when they are gone.

Dr. Chapman’s book is available at the public library and in stores and there are also countless websites and Youtube videos about The Five Love Languages of Children.  As a parent and teacher, I highly encourage you to evaluate your love language and that of your child.  Being aware of how to show your child that he/she is loved in the most effective way creates the possibility of a deep life-long emotional bond which goes beyond the typical parent-child relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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